Mazda5
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Overall

Mazda’s tall wagon with minivan-like sliding doors is the ideal six-passenger people carrier that can navigate tight spots while keeping upfront costs and fuel expenditures in check.

Drivetrain

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder connects to a six-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic.

At some point in the near future it’s expected that the Mazda5 tinyvan will adopt many of the 2014 Mazda3′s latest “SkyActiv” features, including platform and suspension upgrades plus the latest 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is now a Mazda3 option. For the time being, however, the ever-practical Mazda5 soldiers on with the previous Mazda3 chassis that has been stretched by five inches between the front and rear wheels to accommodate three rows of seats.
The highly versatile interior allows you to fold flat either or both of the sliding and reclining second-row buckets, or the 50:50 split folding rear bench to create just the right mix of passengers and cargo. The Mazda5 uses with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder powerplant that was previously employed in the Mazda3 and Mazda6 passenger cars. For its Mazda5 role, the 2.5 produces 157 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. The “5″ continues to be the only vehicle in its class available with a manual gearbox. A six-speed manual is standard for base models, while a five-speed automatic is optional. Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with either transmission. Along with the manual trans, the base Sport features the usual air conditioning and power-operated accessories, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, six-speaker audio system and 16-inch alloy wheels. The mid-grade Touring adds the automatic transmission plus fog lights, rear liftgate spoiler, Bluetooth short-range wireless networking and 17-inch wheels, while the premium Grand Touring is laden with a power moonroof, leather-covered seats (heated in front), high-intensity-discharge headlights, rain-sensing wipers and a premium audio package. In essence, the Mazda5 is the complete package, minus the size and capacity of its much bigger competitors, of course, but also without their much higher list prices and their bigger appetites at the gas pumps.

Base price (incl. destination): $20,700
Type: Four-door minivan
Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I4 (157)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; five-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 22/28 (AT)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,420